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Rising river will affect game fishing

The Mississippi River is on a very fast rise. That is really no surprise to residents that have lived here for a long time.

Every year in late November and early December the river rises. This will probably be the end of fishing for game fish on the Old Rivers until June or July of next year.

Cold, muddy water from the Mississippi River will scatter the fish across hundreds of acres of flooded woods. You may find some fish during the higher levels in December but it will take some hard work.

The river stage at Natchez Friday was 30.8 feet. That’s up from a stage of 21 feet just a few days ago. Ten feet of water coming down the river that fast is a bit unusual.

Normally the late fall rise would be much slower.

By Tuesday the stage will be approximately 32.7 feet, and the rise will continue. As of Friday, there was no crest date forecast on the river summary. Just looking at the charts and fishing those waters all my life, I think we will see a level close to 40 feet by next weekend.

With the record flood we experienced in the spring and early summer of this year, predictions were the fishing on the live oxbow lakes would be great, and it was great, while it lasted.

Now we can get back across the levee and fish the landlocked lakes where good things are happening. That’s the good thing about living in this area. We have live oxbow lakes that offer great seasonal fishing. Once the river rises the landlocked lakes are at their best.

Lakes Concordia, St. John and Bruin are some of the best cold water lakes along the lower Mississippi River. The colder the water is the better the fishing will be. Currently surface water temperatures by mid-day average approximately 64 degrees.

Over the holiday weekend I heard many good reports, witnessed many fishermen and ladies catching fish and I caught some really nice bass.

I spoke with a husband and wife team on Lake Concordia recently. They had 56 nice-sized sac-a-lait from Lake Concordia. There were six or seven boats in the same area that day. They all had some nice perch.

The white perch fishing on Lake Concordia will just keep getting better as the water gets colder. I have not heard from the sac-a-lait fishermen on Bruin and St. John, but you can bet when the perch are biting on Concordia they are active on the other landlocked oxbow lakes as well.

Our late fall and winter fishing is certainly not limited to the Mississippi River oxbow lakes. Numbers of bass and sac-a-lait are coming from the Saline/Larto Complex and the Black River/Horseshoe Lake Complex.

All these lakes and complexes are really low, so be careful launching your boats and do not run your boat on plan in the flats on the ends of the lakes. You will run aground.

One thing for sure, the fish are more active right now than they have been since this past spring. It’s time to get your boat and tackle ready and go catch some of the best fishing action our area lakes have to offer. Wear your life jacket. The water is close to 60 degrees and as the water temps continues to drop you certainly don’t want to fall in the lake. Good fishing to all.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.

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